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Economy in Brief

Manpower Inc. Survey Indicates Steady But Slow U.S. Hiring
by Tom Moeller September 7, 2010

The latest Manpower Inc. Survey suggested that while the U.S. labor market continues to grow, the usual post-recession momentum has yet to emerge. For Q4 2010, the level of its seasonally adjusted diffusion index held roughly steady at a reading of 5 after a level of 6 in Q3. For all of this year, the level is just nominally higher versus 2009. Since inception in 1976, there has been a 79% correlation between the level of the index and the y/y change in payroll employment.

The detail of the survey indicates that Q4 hiring plans remained positive across industries but real follow through is nowhere evident. The overall not seasonally adjusted diffusion index fell to 4 from 10 for Q3. The indexes for durable manufacturing as well as wholesale & retail trade slipped versus Q3 but elsewhere there was greater slippage, except within the construction and government industries where hiring plans went negative.

The Manpower Inc Employment Outlook Survey is a quarterly measurement of hiring intentions of more than 15,000 employers in 473 cities. Employers declare their intentions to increase, decrease, or maintain the size of their present workforce for the upcoming three-month period.

The figures referenced above are available in Haver's USECON database.

Manpower Inc. Employment
Outlook Survey (%)
Q4 Q3 Q2 Q1 2010 2009 2008
All Industries (SA) 5 6 5 6 6 1 13
All Industries (NSA) 4 10 8 0 6 1 13
  Construction -8 8 4 -12 -2 -6 4
  Manufacturing - Durables 7 9 8 -3 5 -6 13
  Manufacturing - Nondurables 6 12 9 1 7 -2 11
  Wholesale & Retail Trade 13 15 7 4 10 7 13
  Transportation & Utilities 2 9 8 -6 3 -4 14
  Government -6 -2 -1 -3 -3 -3 10
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